War and the Passions of Patriotism
Photo provided by Flickr
The Assembly of Notables - Alpha History
The manuscript collection is at the Richelieu site, but the books and many other offices are located at the new library at Site François Mitterrand, Quai François Mauriac, 75013 Paris.
Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers - Online …
When we turn from the description of the monarchy to the discussion of the English Constitution we must first consider two difficulties. What were Montesquieu’s views on mixed government, and what form of government did he believe England to have? Montesquieu’s treatment of mixed government is characteristic of the problems of interpretation he presents. At the beginning of his work, when enumerating the types of government, he did not consider mixed government at all. There is no direct mention of this idea which had been so important in English political thought for centuries, and which had also figured in the work of Hotman and others in France. Montesquieu writes of “moderate” governments, but these are the uncorrupted forms of monarchy and republic. At one point he seems to be saying that a mixed constitution is impossible, or at least that he knows of none that exists. Again the parallel with Bodin is striking. When Montesquieu turns in Book XI to his discussion of England, however, he adopts a very different approach.
Photo provided by Flickr
Review of Witches and Neighbors - Max Dashu
Montesquieu was aware of the problem of ensuring that a system of government so nicely balanced should not result in complete deadlock, that the three bodies, King, Lords, and Commons, by being poised in opposition to each other should not produce merely a state of “repose or inaction.” But he dismissed the problem by arguing that in the nature of things they are forced to move (par le mouvement nécessaire des choses), and forced to move in concert. The question of whether he saw the State as an organic unity in which the articulated parts formed a single unit exercising the sovereign power, or whether he destroyed the unity of sovereignty by dividing it up into parts which were to be distributed among quite distinct, autonomous bodies, related to each other in a mechanistic fashion only, is probably impossible to answer, because it is doubtful if he ever formulated the problem in either of these ways. He seems to have a unitary view of the supreme power when he is discussing his three forms of State in the initial books of De l’Esprit des Loix, but there is little clue to his attitude in Book XI, Chapter 6. On the question of legislative supremacy he seems, though less explicitly, to hold much the same position that we attributed above to John Locke. The legislative function is logically prior to the rest in the sense that the executive and judicial functions are concerned with putting the law into effect; but the legislative branch must be limited in its power to interfere with the acts of the executive branch, otherwise the former will be able to wield arbitrary power. Montesquieu does not, however, emphasize the supremacy of the law, or of the legislative function, to anything like the extent Locke had done, and as a consequence there seems to be a good deal more disagreement between them on this point than was probably the case.